2013 Distinguished Alumni Awardees

Three LTSP alumni were presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2013 spring convocation. Stories and video comments follow:

The Rev. Dr. Clair Anderson of Hanover receives seminary award for distinguished service in parish ministry

The Rev. Dr. Clair Anderson of Hanover, PA, a 1965 graduate of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), was honored on April 30 with the LTSP Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in Parish Ministry. The award was presented at the seminary’s annual alumni spring convocation banquet. 

Reared in Jamestown, NY, Anderson noted that “I stand here as one of 60 pastors” who grew up in that upstate New York region who went on to become parish pastors, the result, he said, of the Lutheran Church’s Augustana Synod tradition, with its emphasis on Bible teaching, theology and social consciousness. He paid tribute to associate pastor colleagues, lay leaders and parishioners who served with him over the years, and his family and wife, the former Cinda Peterson of Falconer, NY, “who have made this award possible. 

Throughout a 37-year pastoral ministry career in four settings, Anderson practiced a model of discipleship leadership development that led to steady congregational growth in both membership and service to others. While serving as assistant pastor at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Hempstead, Long Island, NY, from May 1965 to September 1967, he played a pivotal role in Head Start and fair housing initiatives, eventually turning the reins over to lay leaders. From 1967 to 1974, Anderson led development of a yoked parish in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY, involving Christ, Redeemer and St. John’s Lutheran Churches. Ministry initiatives in Brooklyn included Bible studies, development of pre-school nurseries, a summer camp, and teen center as well as uniting the congregations. During those years, a second pastor was called to engage in a streets ministry.

In September 1974, Anderson began 12 years of service as pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Norwood, MA. He became proficient in teaching Word and Witness, an initiative of the then Lutheran Church in America to increase biblical knowledge and literacy across the church. Anderson used Word and Witness as a catalyst to develop ministry teams, calling of a second pastor to the congregation, a discipline of prayers for healing and Stephen Ministry, a program to encourage leadership and spiritual development and ministry involving laity. Anderson taught Word and Witness leadership training events in two national settings, in Carthage, IL, and at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. Moving in 1986 to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Bristol, CT, Anderson used Bible and spiritual gifts studies to develop small group and caring ministries, prayers for healing and outreach ministries involving the care of children.

During his career, he served synods – regional jurisdictions of the church – in a variety of ways: on synod council, synod social ministry committee, was a synodical conference dean, and founded and chaired a counseling agency that consulted with conflicted congregations. He currently chairs the healthy congregations committee of his conference in Hanover, PA. He served the LTSP Board of Trustees for six years and the LTSP Alumni Board for nine years.

Bishop Claire S. Burkat receives award for distinguished service to the greater church from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

The Rev. Claire Schenot Burkat of Ambler, PA, a 1978 graduate of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), received the LTSP Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the Greater Church on April 30. The award was presented during the seminary’s annual spring alumni convocation dinner on the school’s East Mt. Airy campus.

In receiving the award, a sometimes emotional Bishop Burkat cited words from the first chapter of the Apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “For consider your call. Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth, but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”  She said she had “been drawn by a magnet” to study at LTSP, a place where she felt fully accepted as a woman seminarian during a time when women were not always so welcomed as future professional leaders across the church. Burkat had earlier completed her undergraduate studies at the City University of New York. She described her path to ordained ministry as filled with the kinds of “little miracles” experienced by ordinary people in God’s embrace. One of those miracles included the awarding of a Hoh Scholarship that made it possible for Burkat, a young woman growing up in a blue collar neighborhood, to afford seminary study. “It is God who chooses us, including from the margins of life,” she said. “And if you want to see what the future has in store for the church, look to the margins…”

Bishop Burkat has served the church of Jesus Christ in a variety of capacities over three decades. She assumed office as the fourth bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on July 1, 2006. In May 2012, she was re-elected to a second term as the spiritual leader of 95,000 members and 160 congregations in the City of Philadelphia and in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties of Pennsylvania.

During her tenure, Bishop Burkat has led the synod, one of 65 regional jurisdictions of the church, through an extensive strategic planning process focusing on new priorities and avenues for Lutheran witness in the 21st century. Under her leadership and in partnership with LTSP President Philip D. W. Krey and the seminary board, the synod moved its offices back into Philadelphia and to the seminary campus, creating a Lutheran center. 

Prior to becoming Bishop, she served as a parish pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Abington, PA. She has had a heart for church planting and mission development, having served the New Jersey Synod in that capacity. She has played a role in the planting of 16 new congregations and the redevelopment of many “at-risk” churches.

Bishop Burkat has been a leader in local and national ecumenical and interfaith initiatives. She is co-convener of the Religious Leaders Council of Philadelphia, which brings together Christians, Jews and Muslims on issues of concern to the region. She is a member of the steering committee of Christian Churches Together in the USA, a national body inclusive of the diversity of Christian families in the United States – Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Evangelical/Pentecostal, historic Protestant, and historic black churches. She serves on the ELCA Ecumenical Task Force, and is a trustee for LTSP and for Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA. She is the mother of an adult son, Alex, who lives in Brooklyn, NY.

The Rev. William B. Moore of Philadelphia receives Seminary’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the World

The Rev. William B. Moore, pastor, teacher, evangelist, organizer and civic leader who has pastored Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in North Philadelphia since 1974, received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the World from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) on April 30. The award was presented to Moore, a 1985 graduate of the seminary’s Urban Theological Institute (UTI), during the annual alumni spring convocation dinner on the seminary’s East Mt. Airy campus.

In accepting the award, Moore described the presentation as “a humbling moment.” He paid tribute to Pauline, his wife of 42 years, for her enduring support. “When I was going to school we didn’t have any IPad, IPhone or any of the other I’s,” he said. “She typed all of my papers so I could get through.” Moore also paid tribute to his congregation for “allowing me to minister for 38 years the way Lutheran (the seminary) taught me to do.” Moore said he has been grateful to be able to “give back” by chairing the Advisory Board of the UTI, a seminary program that has educated many of the Philadelphia area’s black clergy over the course of the past 30-plus years. “This award is not a period for me but rather a comma,” he noted in referencing what he called “skewed values” in the culture. “As long as there is hunger, as long as we are closing schools and we have seniors living on the margins, slashing money for education while we are building first-class prisons, I am not going to rest.”

Moore, a leading voice in the community for change, was reared in North Carolina. He received his BA from Fayetteville State University in 1965. In 1998 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. As Tenth Church’s pastor, he has been a powerful force in the development of affordable housing for families and mature adults in the church’s neighborhood.

Moore has served as president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity. Currently he serves as chair of the Board of AAIM, the service delivery arm of the Black Clergy.  He is co-chair of the Black/Jewish Coalition; chair of the Pastors’ Conference City Wide Revival since 1978; president, One Church/One Child for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; past chair of the City’s Fair Housing Commission, and co-chair of the 1992 Greater Philadelphia Billy Graham Crusade. He served on the staff for one-time Congressman William H. Gray III, and as Area Development Director of the United Negro College Fund, Philadelphia Office.

Moore is founding member and board vice chair for United Bank of Philadelphia, a minority-owned and managed bank in downtown Philadelphia. He has co-chaired the North Philadelphia Empowerment Zone created by an Act of Congress to rebuild inner-city neighborhoods and create jobs. He was instrumental in developing the Safe Corridor program to ensure the safety of neighborhood children attending the Vaux Middle School in North Philadelphia.

As a denominational leader, Moore has chaired the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Part of his responsibility was to provide leadership to the Convention’s overseas AIDS Initiative on the Continent of Africa. 

The Moores are parents of two adult children.